In a Place Like No Other

Excerpts - The place
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Sunday morning, Frank sipped coffee on the deck and realized Donna was right - the front had moved off and the sun was bright. He had the day off so he decided to walk down The Neck and look around. Down the street, Ruthie sat whittling in front of a shack - garlands of fish netting draped over its cladding of grayed cedar shakes and colorful buoys. The sign above the door read "Native Carvings." Ruthie'd donned a purple silk scarf to augment her customary ensemble. Frank watched as a man in a straw hat, luau shirt and shorts, and a woman in a flowery muu muu walked up to Ruthie and engaged her in conversation as she carved. When Ruthie reached down to tug on a sock, the couple whispered to each other. Then Ruthie handed the woman the walking stick and the man handed Ruthie a fistful of bills. Frank smiled and waved at Ruthie as he passed. She lowered her head and glared at Frank over her sunglasses.

The sidewalk skirted the cove. Floats darted out from every building on the water; boats bobbed alongside. On the other side of the street, houses perched along the hillside to take in the sights. Turning at the Loft, Frank passed a few cottages resting precariously on the side of a knoll. Past a dilapidated shack, the harbor glistened. The road turned a corner to parallel the water, ending a few hundred yards away where a brick factory sat on a granite ledge. Its brick chimney with a bulbous cap rose forty feet above the ground. As Frank got closer and saw the detail of the brick work he reveled in the craftsmanship. His eyes searched along arched windows that offered a panorama of the harbor and he relished the detailing. "The building oozes sense of place," he thought as he read a plaque on one wall: Tarr & Wonson Paints.

Frank decided to sit down for a while and watch the harbor. Fishing boats lined the piers on the opposite side. Reflections of their brightly painted hulls slithered across the waves. Brightly painted buoys dotted the waves. An engine fired off and a puff of black smoke drifted up dissipating long before it reached the puffy whites scudding eastward. Frank listened: the high pitched whir of a grinder, the throaty roars of diesels, the fluttering and snapping of sails as yawls and sloops bounced through the wakes of power boats - all peppered with the forlorn cries of gulls swarming in a cloud around the stern of a dragger heading into port. Higher up, more gulls cawed and screeched as they glided, tilting their heads to gauge opportunities.

"Absolutely beautiful," Frank thought soaking up the sounds and colors as he surveyed the skyline he'd seen when he first drove into the city. He recognized landmarks he'd read about in a guide book he'd found in the hotel lobby: the green dome of City Hall sat on its sand colored clock tower, flanked on the left by the red cap on the white spire of the Universalist Church and the charcoal pyramid on the white steeple of the Trinity. To its right stood the aluminum steeple of St. Ann's capping a massive stone tower and the two blue domes atop the stucco facade of Our Lady of Good Voyage. Frank remembered: the locals called it the Church of the Fishermen. All of these sprung from an array of brick, granite and painted wood embedded in rolling verdure; their hues ricocheted across the water.

Excerpts
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